May 2, 2014 |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Terry and Debbie Finley, classmates at Truman High in Levittown, often went on dates to Garden State Park, Philadelphia Park and Liberty Bell. Terry went off to West Point, where he graduated in 1986. Eventually, he and his by-now wife got back to the horses. They owned a cheap claimer, but they always had bigger dreams. They started West Point Thoroughbreds, creating partnerships in horses that made ownership accessible for lesser investments, spreading the risk among multiple owners in the same horse.
May 2, 2014 |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - I always try to separate the Kentucky Derby story from the horse, but admittedly, it is not easy. California Chrome certainly brings the best story to this Derby. Even before I knew the story, I was pretty much convinced he was the best horse. The college hoops regular season was wearing down, the conference tournaments about to begin when I sat down to watch the San Felipe Stakes on March 8 at Santa Anita. I thought Midnight Hawk, trained by Bob Baffert, would be favored.
May 1, 2014 |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Nearly a half century of Aprils have passed since 18-year-old stablehand Art Sherman shared a sleeping bag with a groom on a 4-day cross-country train ride destined for Churchill Downs. They were accompanying the best race horse ever born in California to his date with Kentucky Derby glory. The legendary Swaps, who would eventually set six world records, upset the heavily favored Nashua in the 1955 Derby. A once-in-a-lifetime horse, Swaps would eventually get a statue at Hollywood Park and a permanent place in the heart of that teenager who would become his exercise rider.
April 28, 2014 |
The race itself, Stewart Elliott still insists, was like most any other. "You're just riding," Elliott said. "It doesn't sound right, but you're just riding a race. " Even if it's the Kentucky Derby, and you're riding in it for the first time, on a favorite named Smarty Jones. If all that's true, if there's no moment to process what's happening, even in the final strides, the result hits you like an emotional ton of bricks, when you realize you've ridden it correctly and won the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
January 19, 2014 |
Nerlens Noel continues to make big assists off the basketball court. The 76ers rookie center's latest act of kindness came this week. He treated Lexington, Ky. resident Braxton Upthegrove and his mother, Michelle, to Friday's game against the Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center. Braxton is awaiting his second kidney transplant. Noel, who played one season at Kentucky, unveiled his treat to Upthegrove at Bryan Station High School in Lexington. The 16-year-old, who is the manager of Henry Clay High School's basketball team, was surprised by a special video message from Noel during halftime of a high school basketball.
November 1, 2013 |
PHIL ARISTONE was at Churchill Downs on May 3, 1975 when Bombay Duck, the horse his father owned and brother rode, led for the first 6 furlongs of the Kentucky Derby. Unfortunately, there were 4 more furlongs. Bombay Duck was probably going to get tired under any circumstance, but, getting hit on the side with a beer can thrown from the infield, did not help the situation. The colt began to retreat through the field and eventually finished last. Two weeks earlier, Derby winner Foolish Pleasure had caught Bombay Duck in the final strides of the Wood Memorial.
October 30, 2013 |
WHEN STORM Dixie's career came to an end 5 years ago, Ed Stanco and his five partners in King of Prussia Stable decided they might want to breed their mare. She had won her first race, but never won again. Their superstar trainer, Todd Pletcher, did not exactly give her a rousing endorsement, Stanco remembering him saying, "I wouldn't put a $10,000 stud fee into her. " Pletcher, one of the most intelligent and prudent people in horse racing, got Storm Dixie appraised for about $20,000.
September 24, 2013 |
WHEN PARX management moved the Pennsylvania Derby off Labor Day a few years ago and, then last year raised the purse of its second biggest race, the Cotillion Stakes, and put them both on the same day, they were trying to create an "event. " They officially have an event. Attendance is an irrelevant horse racing statistic in 2013 as 90 percent off all the money is bet away from the race track - online with an account, at an OTB or over the phone. But when you offer something special, you would like to see a big crowd and lots of wagering.
September 18, 2013 |
THREE OF THE BEST trainers in the history of horse racing will be at Parx Racing Saturday, with horses in the three major stakes races: the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, the $1 million Cotillion and the $300,000 Gallant Bob. Horses trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Bill Mott and Jerry Hollendorfer have combined to win more than 15,000 races with purse earnings of more than a half-billion dollars. Each trainer is already in the Hall of Fame and still winning major races. The 1 1/8-mile Pa. Derby, which drew a field of eight, features the rematch between the 1-2 finishers in the Aug. 24 Travers Stakes at Saratoga.
August 30, 2013 |
HORSE RACING is an event-driven sport without enough "events. " The Kentucky Derby is more popular than it has ever been. The Preakness and Belmont Stakes still draw gigantic crowds. The 2-day, end-of-the-year championship event, the Breeders' Cup, draws big crowds and attracts an insane amount of wagering, with the promise of gigantic payoffs every 30 minutes. The "boutique" meets - Saratoga and Del Mar in the summer, Keeneland in the spring and fall - remain wildly popular. But most of the workaday tracks that run long meets simply have no sizzle.